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Subtitles on Apple TV

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I got myself an Apple TV recently, with the plan to rip all my DVDs for instant access.

This is mostly fine, but one roadblock I've come across already is subtitle support. As far as I can find out, when I rip a DVD, I can either hard burn all the subtitles into the video file (so they can't be turned off, or not have them at all (so they can't be turned on). Is this correct?? It's just that I find it really hard to believe - it would seem like a major cock-up by Apple and/or the creators of digital video formats to not support subtitle metadata which can be turned on or off during playback... It's like as step backwards! Anybody with noisy kids or a friend/family member with hearing difficulties will use subtitles regularly, but by no means wants them all the time!

I hope I'm wrong. One point that makes me think I might be is that I found an general option in the Apple TV menu to turn closed captioning On or Off. But I've had no luck with any of the DVD rippers (Handbrake, etc.) - they all tell me that it's all or nothing.

Any ideas?

If subtitles are NOT supported, then Apple really needs to get innovative. I don't think it's too late to sort out, even for videos that have already been ripped. Just include a Subtitles tab on the "Get Info" window of video files in iTunes (get rid of Lyrics?!), where users can paste or link to a subtitle definition file (there are several types of this already - basically a simple list of on-times, off-times, positions and formatting of subtitle text). Then release Apple TV 2.0.2 with support for them. And dammit, as well as a power button on the ridiculous Apple TV remote, include a subtitles button! Until then, disc-based media ain't going away soon!
post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

I got myself an Apple TV recently, with the plan to rip all my DVDs for instant access.

This is mostly fine, but one roadblock I've come across already is subtitle support. As far as I can find out, when I rip a DVD, I can either hard burn all the subtitles into the video file (so they can't be turned off, or not have them at all (so they can't be turned on). Is this correct?? It's just that I find it really hard to believe - it would seem like a major cock-up by Apple and/or the creators of digital video formats to not support subtitle metadata which can be turned on or off during playback... It's like as step backwards! Anybody with noisy kids or a friend/family member with hearing difficulties will use subtitles regularly, but by no means wants them all the time!

I hope I'm wrong. One point that makes me think I might be is that I found an general option in the Apple TV menu to turn closed captioning On or Off. But I've had no luck with any of the DVD rippers (Handbrake, etc.) - they all tell me that it's all or nothing.

Any ideas?

If subtitles are NOT supported, then Apple really needs to get innovative. I don't think it's too late to sort out, even for videos that have already been ripped. Just include a Subtitles tab on the "Get Info" window of video files in iTunes (get rid of Lyrics?!), where users can paste or link to a subtitle definition file (there are several types of this already - basically a simple list of on-times, off-times, positions and formatting of subtitle text). Then release Apple TV 2.0.2 with support for them. And dammit, as well as a power button on the ridiculous Apple TV remote, include a subtitles button! Until then, disc-based media ain't going away soon!


I'm absolutely with you on this one. My partner is profoundly deaf and MUST have subtitles available for any form of viewing. At the moment, I've ripped all of my DVDs onto two 1TB hard drives and left them uncompressed as it's the only way we can watch them (via Front Row on a Mac Mini) in their original format. Of course, this means I cannot properly catalogue them with Metadata for Front row and can only get cover-art (by putting a jpeg in the same directory as the .VOB and calling it 'preview.jpg')

We would LOVE to buy Apple TV, put that in the living room and the Mac Mini/HDs upstairs and stream over Airport Extreme, but this complete lack of support for subtitling is rapidly killing that plan, which is a terrible shame.

This morning, I've been reading up on compression formats, particularly H.264, which was developed in 2003 and (it seems) support embedded subtitles. (read this fantastic article) Like you, I want the simple ability to switch them on or off in Apple TV. I'm still not even sure if Apple TV supports togglable embedded subtitles in mp4 movie files, but Phizz's post suggests it does have a setting for them now. Can anyone confirm this?

All my research on creating mp4 files with embedded subtitles has so far lead me to 'Fair Use' - a peice of software to back-up your DVDs. It does appear that it can re-encode them using the latest lossless mp4 codecs (H.264) and embed subtitles. But, I can't find out for sure without paying my $30 and taking a chance... but I'm getting that desperate!

Quality is also a major concern as we have a projector and often watch movies blown up to very large sizes (something else we set-up at home as subtitles screenings of movies are a rare occurance in our local cinemas!) So I don't wanna see compression articles in the final movies.

I would LOVE to hear from anyone else who has made this similar set-up work as it seems the way forward, but is driving me crazy! I guess in another 5 years, Apple and the powers that be may just get around to paying this issue some attention.

Mathew

mathew@yourwebworks.co.uk
post #3 of 7
If your Apple TV is hacked, then you can enable subtitle support if your media files have .srt files. I'm not sure if any of the usual tools support the creation of these files (a quick Google seems to imply that neither Handbrake nor Visualhub will create soft-subs), but they can be found elsewhere (the ones I've found have been for foreign films, but I'm sure they can be had somewhere for domestic films as well).
post #4 of 7
I have encountered such the problem.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

I got myself an Apple TV recently, with the plan to rip all my DVDs for instant access.

This is mostly fine, but one roadblock I've come across already is subtitle support. As far as I can find out, when I rip a DVD, I can either hard burn all the subtitles into the video file (so they can't be turned off, or not have them at all (so they can't be turned on). Is this correct?? It's just that I find it really hard to believe - it would seem like a major cock-up by Apple and/or the creators of digital video formats to not support subtitle metadata which can be turned on or off during playback... It's like as step backwards! Anybody with noisy kids or a friend/family member with hearing difficulties will use subtitles regularly, but by no means wants them all the time!

I hope I'm wrong. One point that makes me think I might be is that I found an general option in the Apple TV menu to turn closed captioning On or Off. But I've had no luck with any of the DVD rippers (Handbrake, etc.) - they all tell me that it's all or nothing.

Any ideas?

If subtitles are NOT supported, then Apple really needs to get innovative. I don't think it's too late to sort out, even for videos that have already been ripped. Just include a Subtitles tab on the "Get Info" window of video files in iTunes (get rid of Lyrics?!), where users can paste or link to a subtitle definition file (there are several types of this already - basically a simple list of on-times, off-times, positions and formatting of subtitle text). Then release Apple TV 2.0.2 with support for them. And dammit, as well as a power button on the ridiculous Apple TV remote, include a subtitles button! Until then, disc-based media ain't going away soon!

I found a peace of software to help, goto http://code.google.com/p/subler/
and download a file called Subler-0.9.3r2.zip this is a mac program to
let you put sub titles with your apple tv movie.
give it a try, oh buy the way the instructions for Subler sux but it works.
post #6 of 7
Have you all tried Handbrake 0.9.4 yet? It claims to support soft-subtitles now, but I've not yet tested this (am in the process of upgrading my Ubuntu machine from 9.04 to 9.10 because the 0.9.4 binaries are only provided for 9.10 and I don't feel like compiling or manually installing).

If nobody else beats me to it, I'll try a DVD rip and see if it works. I'm actually more excited about the new encoding engine--It claims to be faster, and I'm really hoping that my current problem with HB (that about half of my mkv conversions end up with stuttering audio) is solved!
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by whyisdaddy View Post

I found a peace of software to help, goto http://code.google.com/p/subler/
and download a file called Subler-0.9.3r2.zip this is a mac program to
let you put sub titles with your apple tv movie.
give it a try, oh buy the way the instructions for Subler sux but it works.

Unforunately, Subler does not work with Apple TV. I put some data in one of my movies and it just worked fine on iTunes, but when it comes to playing it from the Apple TV, the subs just won't work at all.

Perhaps the new Apple Tv has a solution for this problem with the new Air Play feature. I'm looking forward to hearing some good news from anyone...
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